The Ontological Geek is One Year Old: The Annual Report, 20102011 2

See the title!

One year ago today, I post­ed the first post on the Ontological Geek, to an audi­ence of my wife and a few of my friends.  Today, I post this anniver­sar­i­al (not a word) update with a few lessons under my belt and a year’s worth of arti­cles and com­ments post­ed on the Internet for all to see and, hope­ful­ly, enjoy.

First, I want­ed to make sure to thank Matt Schanuel for writ­ing the Additional Pylons col­umn for the last eight months or so, as well as Jarrod Hammond, Tom Coberly, and Afh for writ­ing guest arti­cles.

I would also be remiss if I did­n’t thank my wife, Erin, who, in addi­tion to gen­er­al­ly mak­ing life liv­able, reads every one of my arti­cles to ensure I make some sem­blance of sense and don’t embar­rass myself too much.

I can’t help but feel a bit reflec­tive, and so I thought I would share some of the thoughts I’ve been hav­ing.  Hopefully they will enter­tain you.

19 Important Truths to Keep in Mind When Running a Semi-Serious, Not-For-Profit Blog
(Because Round Numbers Are Silly)

1. Writing once a week is prob­a­bly a lie.

2.  Any time you are exces­sive­ly neg­a­tive in a post, you will inevitably make a myr­i­ad of stu­pid errors and feel quite fool­ish.

3. Oftentimes your “great idea for a post” is only actu­al­ly about a para­graph long.

4. Someone has always said what you are going to say bet­ter than you will.  Say it any­way.

5. You will, peri­od­i­cal­ly, go back through your archives and dis­cov­er that there are entire­ly too many darn typos in things you sup­pos­ed­ly proof­read.

6. Don’t sulk when Jarrod Hammond writes you a guest arti­cle which is prob­a­bly the best thing on the site.  He wrote it for your site, after all, not the other guy’s.

7. Don’t lie to your audi­ence about when you’re going to post late arti­cles.  And you always know when you’re lying, don’t pre­tend that you’re “giv­ing your­self more moti­va­tion.”

8. You real­ly don’t write very well at 3:00 in the morn­ing any more.

9. Resist the urge to back through your col­lege essays and find out if you were bet­ter at writ­ing at 3:00 in the morn­ing a few years ago.  You weren’t.  It will be a dra­mat­i­cal­ly embar­rass­ing expe­ri­ence.

10. Be nice.  It stops some of the peo­ple who might hate you from burn­ing you in effi­gy, and makes the trolls get bored and leave.

11. If Blogger’s inter­nal stat-tracker is to be believed, some­times 50 peo­ple from Russia will all simul­ta­ne­ous­ly choose to go to your web­site and not click on any posts.

12. Blogger will fre­quent­ly report that peo­ple have got­ten to your web­site from the strangest places.  Don’t click on the links out of curios­i­ty.  None of them will have any tan­gi­ble con­nec­tion to your web­site, and half of them will be pornog­ra­phy.

13. If in doubt, keep your stu­pid mouth shut.  Especially if you haven’t had a cou­ple of days to think over what you’re say­ing.

14. If not in doubt, con­sid­er keep­ing your stu­pid mouth shut any­way.

15. At some point, some­one will post a link to your blog on a forum.  Then, one of two things will hap­pen: either very few peo­ple will click through, but a sub­stan­tial per­cent­age of them will read it, and some of them will become recur­ring read­ers, or tons of peo­ple will click through, and none of them will read it, and, if they both­er men­tion­ing your arti­cle at all, will only make fun of the fact that you appar­ent­ly like phi­los­o­phy.  Try not to tear out your hair when this hap­pens.  You don’t real­ly have any to spare.

16. No one real­ly cares that your blog has a Twitter account.  Most of the peo­ple who fol­low it know you per­son­al­ly.  Update it any­way.  It’s good for you, and maybe some­day you’ll fig­ure out what to do with the darn thing.

17. If you are too drunk to drive, you are too drunk to write pseudo-philosophical dis­course on much of any­thing other than beer.

18. Do not impul­sive­ly launch new week­ly fea­tures in the mid­dle of your busiest time at work.  You will feel very silly when you miss the sec­ond iter­a­tion of a week­ly fea­ture because you were too busy.  Your read­ers are too polite to call you on this, but they are all, every one of them, rolling their eyes when you do that.


19. The stats haven’t sub­stan­tial­ly changed in the last thir­ty sec­onds.


On a slight­ly more seri­ous note, here are some things I would like to see on the Ontological Geek by this time next year:

1. More guest arti­cles, from more guest authors.  I would love to get to the point where I can post a new guest arti­cle every week, but for now, I would be quite pleased to see one a month.

2. Regular con­trib­u­tors updat­ing at least twice a month.  Once a week is fool­ish­ly opti­mistic for a fair­ly small, non-paying writ­ing gig like this, but twice a month seems rea­son­able.

3. At least one more semi-regular con­trib­u­tor by the end of the year, to try to expand the num­ber of voic­es reg­u­lar­ly given the floor here.

4. Relationships with other blogs, web­sites, and Video Game People of sim­i­lar lev­els of fame, so that we can start to expand our audi­ence and devel­op last­ing rela­tion­ships.

5. Continued steady growth in views-per-month.  We have (with a few ran­dom spikes) kept a pret­ty steady level of growth going since about December of 2010, and I would love for that rate to at least stay steady, and hope­ful­ly increase.

Call to Action

So, what does that mean for you?

Well, if you want to help us out, there are sev­er­al ways you can do so:

First, tell friends that you think would be inter­est­ed in this sort of thing about our web­site!  At the end of the day, most young web­sites spread their dark, cor­ro­sive influ­ence through word-of-mouth, so if you want to see us gain a larg­er audi­ence (and there­fore more and bet­ter con­tent, which will attract a larg­er and bet­ter audi­ence, lath­er rinse repeat), tell your friends!

After that, you can com­mu­ni­cate our exis­tence to any and all Internet People who might be inter­est­ed. Tell them that you enjoy this web­site and think it might be worth check­ing out.  Publicity is good!

If you feel par­tic­u­lar­ly inspired, we wel­come and encour­age addi­tion­al guest arti­cles and, as men­tioned above, would real­ly like to have some more reg­u­lar or semi-regular con­trib­u­tors, so if you feel like writ­ing some­thing about video games, art, other mis­cel­la­neous geeky things, or real­ly any­thing inter­est­ing that you think our kind of audi­ence would enjoy, e‑mail us at, and we’ll talk!

Finally, the most impor­tant thing you can do to help is to keep read­ing, and keep giv­ing us feed­back.  Like us on Facebook and fol­low us on Twitter to make sure you know when we post things.  This will be an added ben­e­fit, since we also use those chan­nels to post par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing things that we think our read­er­ship will enjoy from other web­sites.  Let us know what you think of our arti­cles, or if there are any sub­jects you would par­tic­u­lar­ly like one of us to tack­le.  It’s fun for us to just write about what­ev­er we want, but it’s more fun if we know that we’re address­ing some par­tic­u­lar ques­tion one of our read­ers has raised.

Also, of course, keep being awe­some.  One of the things I most enjoy about run­ning the Ontological Geek is the fact that our read­er­ship is almost unrea­son­ably polite and intel­li­gent.  In all the com­ments we’ve got­ten, even on our rel­a­tive­ly inflam­ma­to­ry arti­cles, we’ve only real­ly received one or two com­ments that have show­cased Typical Obnoxious Internet Behavior, and this fact starts to rekin­dle my faith in human­i­ty.

Thanks very much, and keep being fan­tas­tic,

–Bill Coberly
Editor and Columnist
The Ontological Geek


Here are some ran­dom stats, for those of you who are curi­ous:

As of this writ­ing, and includ­ing this post, the Ontological Geek is cur­rent­ly home to 73 posts, or approx­i­mate­ly 97,196 words.

Of these posts, 23 are Philosopher-Geek posts, 12 are Additional Pylons, and 5 are guest arti­cles.  The remain­der are one-off news items or (since-discontinued) week­ly fea­tures.

The aver­age post is thus approx­i­mate­ly 1350 words long.  The aver­age Philosopher-Geek post is approx­i­mate­ly 2347 words long, the aver­age Additional Pylon is approx­i­mate­ly 1700 words long, and the aver­age guest arti­cle is approx­i­mate­ly 1515 words long.

Bill Coberly

About Bill Coberly

Bill Coberly is the founder and groundskeeper of The Ontological Geek, now that it has shifted over to archive mode. If something on the site isn't working, please shoot a DM to @ontologicalgeek on Twitter!

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